By David O. Heishman –
It must have been 1975, about the time Phoebe and I were getting serious. I don’t remember the reason for coming to her office at the Moorefield Examiner during normal working hours except to see her. I came in the back way, through the back printing shop. The “Boys” were working.
Bill Vance, Grover “Chick” Charleton and Forrest “Jungle” Wolfe were hard at work around clicking, humming, clanking, stinking printing machinery. They all glanced up and grinned at me, before returning to concentration on their jobs.
Small weekly newspapers needed a press crew to get out that one newspaper each week. When not working on all the operations which went into it’s production, printers were largely unemployed. Owners/Publishers needed to pay printers full time though, so most small newspapers, including the Examiner, also ran small commercial printing operations to keep the Boys busy and to help cash flow.
By the time I walked into the Examiner’s back shop, the newspaper was no longer being printed there. Printing processes were changing from “hot metal” to “cold type”, a process based mainly on photography, typesetting on special cameras, which took pictures of letter images on long strips of film. Developers then produced positive images which were cut apart and arranged on make-up sheets with hot wax glue.
The job shop still relied on hot metal. I believe the most intricate, complicated, purely mechanical machine I’ve ever seen run was a Linotype. Bill and Chick were Masters. Bill ran a versatile three magazine machine, while Chick spent hours on a single magazine producing body type. Jungle ran the Ludlow for which he handset type molds and produced large type. All the boys worked at the myriad of little jobs necessary for coordinated production…